Peekaboo Moona: Fun First Games by Baby & Toddler

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Peekaboo Moona: Fun First Games by Baby & Toddler App Poster Image
Multilingual games aim young, require adults for learning.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Screens are not the best way to teach babies and toddlers language. Despite that, kids may learn a few new words in their native language or in one of the other available languages.

Ease of Play

Kids just need to tap the screen repeatedly and watch what happens.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Small icon on the home page advertises other apps from the same developer. Parent gate stands in front of any actual purchase.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Peekaboo Moona: Fun First Games by Baby & Toddler introduces young kids to new vocabulary words from eight languages. However, parents should be aware that there is no evidence to suggest that babies or toddlers can learn vocabulary from interactions with screens. In fact, all current evidence on language learning shows that young children pick up language from the back-and-forth interactions that happen with real people, in the real world. That said, in this game, kids choose from one of five categories (fruit, vegetables, on the farm, professions, and heroes) and then tap the screen to start cycling through up to 16 words, images, and mini-animations. Each image gets labeled out loud twice. In the settings menu, parents or kids can choose a language, adjust the volume for the background music and sound effects, and choose to set a playtime limit. The free download offers a few words in each category; unlock the whole game through an in-app purchase. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your information is collected and shared.

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What's it about?

Kids start PEEKABOO MOONA: FUN FIRST GAMES BY BABY & TODDLER by choosing a category. Once there, a theme-appropriate image (such as thick leaves) fills the screen and kids must tap to reveal what's hiding behind (such as an apple on a tree). The image gets labeled once, kids keep tapping to watch mini-animations, and finally the image gets labeled a second time. After four taps, the cycle starts again with a different image and word to reveal. Choose to play in eight languages including English, German, Spanish, or Japanese.

Is it any good?

Other than the language flexibility, this early learning app doesn't have much going for it. Peekaboo Moona: Fun First Games by Baby & Toddler claims to teach very young children vocabulary words in multiple languages. The multiple languages piece is done relatively well, with real native-speaker voices and an easy way to switch among the language choices. The learning part is much less clear as, according to much research on language learning, babies and toddlers learn language best from their real-world interactions. Kids hear each word only two times, and the "peek-a-boo" game and the mini-animations are also extremely repetitive and don't offer much excitement after the first few taps. Besides all that, there's only an odd collection of words. Fruit, vegetables, around the farm, and even professions can certainly fit within the classic sets of vocabulary that young kids usually explore. However, the heroes category is questionable: How useful is it for kids to know the words "amazon" or "viking"? And many words are automatically gendered or have gendered phrasing: "fireman" instead of "firefighter," "policeman" instead of "police officer," or "space man" instead of "astronaut." So while it may be useful for looking at a small -- and somewhat odd -- collection of words in multiple languages, don't expect it to teach your young kids much without a lot of parent intervention.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the words in Peekaboo Moona: Fun First Games by Baby & Toddler. Use target words in your everyday interactions as much as possible. Point out vocabulary words, repeat them multiple times, and use them in sentences.

  • Increase your young kids' vocabulary by talking to them as much as possible. Even before they can talk back to you in a language you understand, give them lots of language input. Narrate what you're doing, label what's around you, and read lots of books.

  • Older kids -- think preschool age and up -- can learn language from well-designed media with rich language content. If you want to use screens to enhance native, foreign, or multilingual language development, check out these multilingual apps.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: vocabulary
  • Price: Free to try
  • Pricing structure: Free to Try (limited content available with free download; in-app purchase unlocks full app)
  • Release date: May 28, 2017
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 101.00 MB
  • Publisher: Moona Group
  • Version: 1.0
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 7.0 or later

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